Babies, Eagles, and the Right to Live
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As traditional American values (i.e., biblical values) continue to be systematically jettisoned from our current culture, moral and spiritual confusion have been the inevitable result. This disorientation is particularly evident in the passionately held, conflicting viewpoints of the abortion controversy. On Monday, January 22, 1973, the United States Supreme Court ruled, in a 7-to-2 vote, that abortion—baby murder—would be legalized and made available on demand throughout America. Such abortions, stated the Court’s edict, could be performed up to and including the ninth month, with the doctor’s permission, if the physical or mental health of the prospective mother was deemed “at-risk.” Three decades later since that fateful day, more than forty million babies, and counting, have been butchered.
Ironically, the foundational principles of the American way of life, articulated by the Founding Fathers and subsequent spokesmen, speak to this matter. The Declaration of Independence boldly declares: “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” (emp. added). The United States Constitution announced: “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America” (emp. added). The fifth amendment of the Constitution, in the Bill of Rights states: “Nor shall any person...be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law” (emp. added). And Abraham Lincoln, in the Gettysburg Address, reminded his audience: “Four score and seven years ago, our forefathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal” (emp. added).
Yet, abortion advocates subtly shift attention away from the living status of the unborn baby to the “rights” and “choice” of the mother. Abortionists style themselves “pro-choice.” The hypocrisy and utter self-contradiction of such thinking is evident in the equally passionate stance on “animal rights.” Millions of dollars have been spent in recent years in attempts to “save the whales.” A “ruckus” has frequently arisen over the plight of endangered animal species, from the spotted owl and the dolphin, to the Snail Darter in the Little Tennessee River. One electric power provider in Utah and Colorado was fined $100,000, given three years probation, and ordered to retrofit its utility lines due to the occasional electrocution of protected bird species by its electric lines and equipment.
The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act provides for the protection of two species of eagles by prohibiting the take, possession, sale, purchase, barter, offer to sell, purchase or barter, transport, export or import, of either eagle, alive or dead, including any part, nest, or egg without a permit. “Take” means to pursue, shoot, shoot at, poison, wound, kill, capture, trap, collect, molest, or disturb. Felony convictions for the violation of this act carry a maximum fine of $250,000 or two years of imprisonment (or five years under the Lacey Act; “Bald Eagle,” 2002). Get this: A human being may be fined a quarter of a million dollars and put in prison for five years for collecting eagle eggs, but that same person is permitted by federal law to murder an unborn human infant! Eagle eggs, i.e., pre-born eagles, are of greater value to society than pre-born humans!
To view the preservation of animal life as equally important—let alone more important—than the preservation of human life is a viewpoint that is seismic in its proportions and nightmarish in its implications. Whatever one’s stance may be with regard to the environment and animal life, the blurring of the distinction between man and animal, so characteristic of the atheistic, humanistic, and hedonistic perspective throughout human history, inevitably contributes to moral decline, ethical desensitization, and the overall cheapening of the sanctity of human life. Instead of fretting over the potential loss of an alleged cure for AIDS or cancer due to the destruction of the rain forests, we would do well to spend that time weeping and mourning over the loss of millions of babies whose unrealized and incomprehensible potential for good has been forever expunged by abortion. The remarkably resourceful potential of those extinguished tiny human minds to have one day found a cure for cancer far surpasses the value of moss and fungi in some Third World rain forest.
If the right to life applies to birds, fish, and mammals—whether in pre- birth or post-birth form—how in the world can anyone arrive at the conclusion that pre-born human infants are any less deserving of protection? What person, in their right mind, would assign more objective worth to an animal than to a human? The abandonment of sense and sanity in assessing God’s Creation, with His endowment of humans with qualities that set them miles apart from animals, has led to the nonsensical and utterly irrational thinking that presently permeates civilization. The widespread societal sanction of abortion, along with other morally objectionable behaviors like illicit drug use, gambling, and the consumption of alcohol, have together gradually and insidiously chipped away at the moral foundations of America. In the words of former United States Court of Appeals judge, Robert Bork: “The systematic killing of unborn children in huge numbers is part of a general disregard for human life…. Abortion has coarsened us” (1996, p. 192, emp. added).
It is absolutely imperative that people view reality from the perspective of the Supreme, Transcendent Ruler of the Universe. As Creator, He alone is in the position to define value and human life. God is spirit (John 4:24). He created humans in His image (Genesis 1:26). Humans are not animals. Humans possess a soul—a spirit. Animals do not. Unborn babies possess a spirit, and are regarded by God as human (Psalm 139:13-16; Jeremiah 1:5; Luke 1:44). How dare we regard them any differently!
Should we be concerned about our environment? Should we give a proper measure of care and concern to the animal population? Certainly. God cares, and provides, for His nonhuman creatures (Job 38:41; Psalm 147:9; Matthew 10:29). However, in contemplating the “birds of the air” (which certainly includes the bald eagle and the spotted owl), Jesus’ own assessment of the situation is sobering, authoritative, and decisive: “[H]owmuch more valuable you are than birds!” (Luke 12:24, NIV, emp. added; cf. Matthew 6:26; 10:31).
“Bald Eagle” (2002), http://midwest.fws.gov/eagle/protect/laws. html.
Bork, Robert (1996), Slouching Towards Gomorrah (New York: ReganBooks).